Written by Nectarsleep editorial team
Last Updated on Aug 16, 2022
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Trying to get more shut-eye, but it almost feels impossible? If you are someone who suffers from episodes of insomnia, you must have come across a plethora of tips and tricks. But have you ever tried a banana before bed?
The delicious fruit is rich in vitamin C and B6, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. While eating one regularly can be beneficial for your health, eating a banana before bed is also said to improve the quality of your sleep. This article is here to you all about it and more. Read ahead!
Bananas are full of nutrients that can aid your health and put you into a deep state of relaxation and sleep.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid not produced by the body but is found in foods like bananas. When you consume tryptophan-rich food, it can help improve the quality of your sleep. It also enables you to fall asleep quickly and prevents disturbed sleep. So, how does it help?
Once tryptophan enters your system, it gets converted into serotonin. This is a hormone that leads to the synthesis of melatonin. So, to sum it up, consuming a banana before bed can enhance the production of melatonin, which provides better sleep.
Magnesium is excellent for sleep and can help you in different ways. First, magnesium helps maintain your body's circadian cycle, which is nothing but your internal clock that tells you when to fall asleep and when to stay awake. Second, magnesium helps enhance melatonin production and curb cortisol levels.
Melatonin is a hormone that enhances deep and restful sleep while cortisol is a stress hormone, which you don’t need! Finally, when your magnesium levels are low, it can lead to short sleep cycles. Therefore, eating a banana before bed can be a healthy choice as it contains about 34 mg of magnesium.
Potassium is essential for your body because it reduces muscle cramping that you may experience at night, ensuring you don’t experience disturbed sleep. Also, someone suffering from high blood pressure and low potassium levels can hinder sleep quality. One banana contains about 450 mg of potassium.
Banana also contains a teeny tiny amount of carbs, about 25 gm, which is good because it boosts tryptophan and increases its chances of entering the brain.
You are now familiar with one significant advantage of consuming a banana before bed: improved sleep quality. Let’s now look at the other benefits bananas offer you when eaten before bed.
We already told you earlier how bananas release serotonin. But did you know serotonin is a happy hormone that promotes positive emotions, such as happiness and pleasure? So, eating a banana will automatically put you in a good mood, which can help you sleep better.
If you are trying to lose weight, binge-eating is something you must avoid, especially before bed. So, when you eat a banana, it makes you feel fuller for longer because it then takes time for the stomach to empty. This is because of pectin present in bananas.
When you consume foods that contain resistant starch, your body will not be able to digest it. Instead, the gut bacteria ferment it, leading to short-chain fatty acids like butyrate.
Butyrate aids your gut health by curbing any inflammation and encouraging a smooth functioning of the intestine.
Potassium acts as a muscle relaxant. So, if you are someone who wakes up because of cramping, then consuming a banana before bed can be very helpful.
Potassium balances the sodium levels in the body by reducing the water storage of the kidneys and helps regulate one’s blood pressure.
Another advantage of eating bananas is that it helps combat Restless Leg Syndrome. More on it is given below!
Also known as the Willis-Ekbom disease, RLS, or Restless Leg Syndrome, is a condition where you have an uncontrollable urge to move your legs because of an extraordinary sensation that you feel. While this condition can occur any time of the day, it is more frequent at night. So, if you have been suffering from RLS, you are probably wondering if bananas help with restless leg syndrome? The answer is yes.
Bananas can help with RLS because the fruit is rich in potassium and contains about 450 mg of potassium. Potassium is the major player in combating this condition. It helps with the muscle and nerve function in the body and ensures that the carbs and protein present in the body are efficiently used.
Magnesium is another vital nutrient that can help manage this condition. Just like potassium, magnesium also helps keep your nerves and muscles healthy. And eating one banana fulfills approximately 8% of the daily requirement.
Now that you know bananas are wonderful, let’s look at other bedtime snacks that can help you sleep better.
If you are in the mood for something sweet and tangy before bedtime, tart cherry juice can be good for you. Full of vitamin C, the tart cherry is also a good source of melatonin and can help you sleep well. However, for this remedy to work, you must consume the juice a couple of hours before hitting the sheets.
Just like bananas, sweet potatoes are rich in potassium and can put you in a relaxed state. So, it’s always a good idea to have sweet potato-based dishes before bed whenever you are feeling too restless or need something extra to make you fall asleep.
Milk contains tryptophan, so a glass of warm milk will help you fall asleep faster and be genuinely comforting. You can even have a banana with your milk or switch to turmeric milk. The golden concoction is wonderful for you and takes only a couple of minutes to make it. Just add a pinch of cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric to boiling milk. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and enjoy it hot!
Chamomile tea has been used to promote sleep for ages. This is because it contains apigenin, an antioxidant that can help a few receptors in your brain prevent insomnia and sleeplessness.
A handful of walnuts is all you need to fall asleep faster. Just eat them before bed, and you are good to go. This works because walnuts are a rich source of melatonin.
These low-cal fruits can be a great snack before bed as they contain a good amount of potassium and folate. Also, kiwis produce serotonin, which is excellent for inducing sleep and keeping you in a good mood.
While turkey can be a delicious snack during the day, it is also good before bed. Why? Because it makes you feel oh-so-sleep. This is because turkey contains tryptophan, which aids the production of melatonin in your body and promotes good quality sleep.
Another tea that makes to this list is passionflower tea. A rich source of flavonoid, this tea contains apigenin, just like chamomile, and binds specific receptors to the brain to promote sleepiness. It is also good for health as it boosts your immune health and reduces inflammation.
You can make use of these snacks to create a bedtime routine of your own. For instance, having a cup of warm milk or tea can be a comforting experience, which will help you sleep better. You can also take this time to read a book or talk to your partner about their day as you sip on the warm beverage!
You are now familiar with bedtime snacks that can put you to sleep effortlessly. So, let's look at foods to avoid before bed.
Caffeine and sleep are enemies. In fact, you must avoid caffeine at least 4-6 hours before you plan to go to bed. This is because caffeine blocks adenosine. Adenosine is a naturally occurring chemical in the body that keeps accumulating throughout the day and makes you feel like sleeping during the night.
But drinking coffee, tea, or any other caffeinated drinks can disrupt the process and keep you awake even at night. Even dark chocolate, which otherwise is good for you, contains a small amount of caffeine. This is also one of the foods that cause restless leg syndrome. So, if you suffer from RLS, it is good to cut down on caffeine. If you relish the taste of coffee, you can always opt for decaf.
While a glass of wine can seem like a good idea, it interrupts your natural sleep cycle and reduces restorative REM sleep. Consuming alcohol can also lead to loud snoring, and since it relaxes all the muscles, it is not suitable for people suffering from sleep apnea.
When you consume alcohol before bed, there are also chances that you may experience disturbed sleep because of the bathroom breaks you will have to take and because liver enzymes stabilize the alcohol in your system. This can lead to daytime sleepiness and hamper your productivity.
Even if you have a sweet tooth and enjoy something sugary after every meal, avoid sugary snacks at night, as they can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle. When you consume too much sugar, your pancreas releases insulin. The insulin then takes the sugar back to the cells and converts it into energy. So too much sugar will overstimulate you and keep you up at night.
Now you know that bananas are a great snack before bed. However, if you suffer from sleepless nights or poor quality sleep, try the tips mentioned above to help you out.